Joakim Noah has been battling a groin injury throughout the preseason, but the Bulls center said on Sunday he's '100 percent' ready to play on Tuesday for the season opener against the Miami Heat. Noah only played one preseason game, finishing with two points, eight rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes against the Pistons on Oct. 16. It appeared as if there was a good chance Noah would miss the opener after Tom Thibodeau bemoaned the center's lack of conditioning, but it's clear the game means a lot to Noah and he's going to gut it out through pain.
"I think if my groin was still bothering me we'd have to talk about it because I didn't want it to linger on all season," he said. "It would have been really tough to sit out a game that I've been waiting for all summer. I've been training for this game all summer. So it would have been tough but we got to think big picture."
Groin injuries tend to linger, so it's pretty unlikely Noah is actually feeling 100 percent healthy. We've seen him play through injury countless times in the past -- most notably when he overcame plantar fasciitis in last year's playoffs against the Nets -- so perhaps it shouldn't be surprising he's willing to go against the Heat, a team he's never hid his disdain for.
The Craptain, Kirk Hinrich, also appears ready to play on Tuesday. Hinrich sustained a concussion on Oct. 18 against the Pacers and missed the Bulls final three preseason games.